Some people are undeniably hard to shop for. I’ve found that digital natives and gadget lovers are among those people. They usually are so plugged in that they’ve seen everything that’s cool first anyhow. But, with Christmas coming up, here are a few things your geeky and social media-loving friends could enjoy.
For the collector: Pop! Vinyls
You’ve probably seen them around, those cute little figurines with the bobbleheads. They may look like toys, but Pop! Vinyls aren’t primarily for kids but a sought-after collector’s item. They often gain in value — especially the limited editions — and have potential reselling value. And if you can get your hands on a con exclusive, they’re bound to be worth a lot.
Pop! Vinyls make for great Christmas gifts because there are so many to choose from and they’re usually not initially expensive. Funko, the company who creates the figurines, covers a wide variety of fandoms, from Doctor Who to Star Wars, from Disney to Game of Thrones. This makes it easy to find the right thing for geeks if you know what they’re into.
You can buy Pop! Vinyls new in many online shops but make sure you check eBay as well.
For the tinkerer: Sphero Mini
It looks like an unassuming little ping pong ball. But this little ball harbours a secret: Sphero is a robot ball, equipped with gyroscope, accelerometer, and LED lights that can be controlled via an app.
Sphero Mini is the most affordable Sphero product, but if you’re happy to spend more, you can choose from a variety of options. There’s a bigger-sized Sphero, racing robot Ollie and even various Disney versions like the BB-8.
For the movie fiend: Smartphone projector
A smartphone projector is a perfect gift for film geeks. Simply connect your phone to the projector to watch whatever you enjoy watching “on the big screen”. Smartphone resolutions have gotten pretty good these days, so it really works. But of course, it really depends on the projector how well the image can be seen.
With a cheaper projector, the room has to be really dark for the image to be properly visible. Meanwhile, more expensive projectors with proper connectors for a variety of sources are capable to handle more versatile situations.
However, one of those retro-looking cardboard projectors that you simply pop your smartphone into can still be a really great gimmick and Christmas gift.
For the gamer: Retro games consoles and handhelds
Some gamers only want the newest, most sophisticated consoles hooked up to their TV. For others, the pinnacle of gaming lies in getting their hands on the consoles of their childhood to play the games they grew up on. Whether their heart lies with Super Nintendo, Sega Dreamcast or Atari — many of these old consoles and corresponding games can still be found online.
And since retro consoles have found such a market, brands have started creating their own replicas of their old consoles, which is a great option for those who care less about the console and more about playing the old games. Check out the NES and SNES Classic or the Atari Flashback lines, for example.
For the DIYer: 3D printer
This may not be the right gift for the Secret Santa game at work where the upper price limit is 20 bucks. However, an at-home 3D printer could make someone close to you very happy.
They’re great for printing small parts needed in other projects, making toys, gadgets, household stuff, and even safety razors. The possibilities are fairly endless. And nowadays, home 3D printers can be had for as little as USD 200.
For the survivalist: FORMcards
They’re not quite the same as a 3d printer, but these form cards are an amazingly versatile tool. These cards are approximately the size of credit cards and are made of a strong meltable bio-plastic.
You submerge a card in a cup of hot water and it turns into a moldable substance that adheres to a variety of materials. You can mould it by hand and use it to create a variety of solutions and fix broken things.
For the techie: Smart home devices
Heating, lighting, security, even fridges and washing machines — smart home devices cover a wide variety of skills and tasks these days. They also make great gifts for your techie friends, whether they want to get started with a smart home or already have an existing set-up and could use some nice add-ons.
If you know your friends are eyeing smart home devices but haven’t taken the plunge yet, start them off with a smart speaker. If they already own a system, figure out what would fit in nicely with that. Perhaps it’s another set of Hue light bulbs or maybe a smart doorbell/security camera. Even IKEA sells smart home devices these days, so have a look around there as well.
When gifting smart home gadgets, the important bit is to first find out what your friends would prefer. While most devices are compatible with multiple systems, it’s worth getting the info on whether Google, Amazon or Apple would be most appreciated.
For the social geek: A social wall
You probably know social media walls from events and conferences or from brands using them for hashtag campaigns. But social walls, surprisingly, have their place in private use as well and can make a great Christmas gift.
Why not set up a wall for the whole family? Maybe dad still hasn’t worked out how Twitter works. Or maybe grandma just isn’t willing to get an Instagram account. But they all definitely want to see those cute pics of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. You probably don’t want to have to print and send them photos by snail mail, right?
An easy solution is to set up a social wall and add everyone’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr accounts to it. Then, give your family the gift of constant updates this Christmas.
Unveil the social wall on a TV screen or with a projector when the family is celebrating together and then simply bookmark the wall URL on grandpa’s, auntie’s, and everyone else’s computers so they can easily find it again throughout the year. You could even make it their browser start page.
Admittedly, this might just be more a gift you give yourself — the gift of peace and quiet when you finally don’t get pestered for photos all year long. 😉
Create a social wall for your family
Collect posts, photos and videos from multiple social media platforms and multiple channels.